Kent horse dealer Tom Bonner, whose business was the subject of a BBC South East investigation leading to seven convictions under the Trades Descriptions Act
(news, 17 January), has successfully appealed against two of his fines.
At Gravesend County Court on 11 January Mr Bonner, of Dartford, was found guilty of charges relating to three horses. The court heard that they were falsely described to potential buyers as being younger and in better health than they were, and that he sold a horse without a passport. A further eight charges were dropped.
The dealer was fined £16,000 with £6,750 costs.
But at Maidstone County Court on 15 April, Mr Bonner won a partial appeal against the sentence, with two £2,000 fines — for selling a horse without a passport and for mis-describing a horse on a passport — dropped. Bonner was still deemed to have been guilty of the charges.
Graham Frid of Kent Trading Standards, who brought the case against Mr Bonner using evidence from the BBC and other customers of the dealer, said the drop in fine was “a disappointment”.
“But if you take away the emotive issue of it being horses involved in this case, he was fined very heavily,” said Mr Frid.
Speaking to H&H after the appeal, Mr Bonner said: “I didn’t cheat anybody. A horse’s age is a matter of opinion and that was the only thing they said I’d done wrong.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (1 May, ’08)